For some students, math skills are as natural as the breeze, but for others, mathematics can be a struggle, possibly a battle.
Whichever career you choose, you will probably have to apply a certain amount of mathematics knowledge. So if you are a struggling math’s student, continue to read on and find out what you can do to reap immediate improvements in your grades.
These tips are specifically designed for students of mathematics but will be of great benefit for the students of any subject.
If you are about to sit the Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) exam, then the help of parents is particularly useful. However, if you are an older student doing the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education Examinations (BGCSE) exams, you will usually have the past experience of sitting the BJC exam to build confidence. Both students however, can still benefit from the tips below.
For immediate improvement in your results, let us take a look at the things you can do;
- A term or more before the exam
- One week before the exam
- The night before the exam and
- During the exam
A Term or More Before the Exam
Get a copy of the official syllabus for the exam
The official syllabus was developed by the Bahamas Ministry of Education. It gives guidelines for teachers and indicates the important subjects which must be covered before a student can successfully complete the mathematics BJC or BGCSE exam.
You can obtain printed versions at the Ministry of Education offices. But if you prefer to access them right away, consider downloading the ebooks from this link here Download Syllabus.
Get a copy of your school scheme for this subject and this examination
Throughout the world schools are encouraged to make students and parents aware of what is being taught. Although every candidate for an examination will be asked the same questions based on topics in the curriculum every school will have its own schedule for teaching these.
If this information has not been given to you, request it as early as possible every year, particularly in years such as year 9 and year 12 when there are official examinations. If you can request it from years 7 and 10, then that would be better.
Be proactive versus reactive
A problem sometimes encountered by struggling math students is that new topics are first introduced to them in a classroom setting.
This means you must quickly grasp the material and keep pace with the your non-struggling classmates or your teacher’s schedule.This certainly does not have to be the case.
Once you get a hold of the school’s teaching scheme, you’ve immediately equipped yourself for a journey of self-led learning.
You can now remain one step ahead of your lesson by taking time at home to review each topic before it’s taught in the classroom.
Do research using other mathematics, or if you are a visual learner, watch a video tutorial on that topic.
It is this proactive, versus reactive approach which will build confidence and strengthen your knowledge.
Make sure every part of the official syllabus is covered in your school scheme
Once you have copies of both school and official schemes make sure you are satisfied that every topic in the official syllabus (scheme) appears in the school scheme. See the table below which pertains to the BJC math exam, but could just as easily be set up for the BGCSE.
Is Anything missing?
Make a note of anything that is missed out by your school scheme for this subject and include it in your preparation.
Get as many past papers as possible
Set up a table as follows . This table is for the BJC topics but a very similar table could easily be constructed for the BGCSE.
How to Use the table
Tick all boxes to the right of a topic as soon you know you can do all examination questions from past papers. Have a number of different columns to track your progress.
The table above has two columns, one for January, the other for March. You may have a lot more columns if you wish. If you have a computer with a spreadsheet this whole process can be a lot quicker.
To download a copy of the table choose from the formats below;
PDF (to use the table as is) BJC Mathematics syllabus – PDF
Excel spreadsheet (to make changes or create a new table) BJC Mathematics Syllabus Topics – Excel Spreadsheet
Tutors and Extra Classes
If before the examination you find that there are some topics that no matter how hard you try you cannot understand then it may be worth getting a tutor.
Some tutors are quite expensive; usually the expensive ones are very, very good.
Often one or two sessions with a tutor may make something completely comprehensible.
The use of extra help is highly recommended in mathematics if your current study is not achieving what is wished.
Get Familiar with Layout of the Exam
The BJC mathematics exam will consist of two papers. Both papers are written.
All questions must be answered in the spaces provided on the question papers. No calculators will be allowed.
All working is to be done in black or blue ink with the exception of constructions and lines which may be done with a pencil.
Show all necessary working.
Paper one is one hour and counts for 40%. It consists of short answer questions which require little working the content is taken from the entire syllabus.
Paper two is of two hours duration and accounts for 60% of the overall mark it consists of more structured questions of a more complicated nature than those in paper one questions to be answered.
Grades are available from A-G.
(There is a similar set of instructions for the BGCSE examination. Candidates must be familiar with these.)
One week before the exam
- You should be sure you have checked every box in the table
- During the last week your study should consist of no more than one hour in mathematics per day and that should only be examination practice using past papers.
The night before the exam
- Make sure you have every essential item such as pens, pencils, rulers and calculators if they are allowed.
- Try and make sure you sleep well.
- Have a good breakfast
During the exam
In the examination you will be probably be nervous. Do not worry because most other people will also be nervous. Follow these steps:
- Read the paper carefully before you start
- Attempt questions you know you can do first
- Once these are done go onto questions that should be all right
- Finally do the really hard ones but do not allow yourself to get stuck on a question. There are countless millions of very able people throughout the world who have made this mistake. You simply do not have the time to try and solve some problem which you’re stuck on
- Attempt every question. You cannot get marks for questions that are not attempted
- Try and finish with as much time as possible to spare so you can go over your answers. Going over your answers in mathematics is extremely valuable.
What about you? Do you have any tried and true study tips that always help you make the grade?